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Author Topic: Reality Check.  (Read 6852 times)
nightflier
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Vectorian
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« Reply #15 on: December 01, 2008, 11:19:41 am »

Tom, I appreciate the offer. One thing that I would need is a list of commonly used Windows software and the Linux alternatives (which should be available in the default install or the repo). Would you take that one?
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Triarius Fidelis
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« Reply #16 on: December 01, 2008, 12:12:57 pm »

There exists a page with a very similar function

http://osswin.sourceforge.net/

Except it's to show software libre apps, partitioned by function, for WinDOS

Might be a good start
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tomh38
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« Reply #17 on: December 01, 2008, 02:41:45 pm »

nightflier:  I would be glad to do that.  I once helped a friend do basically the same thing.  I can type up a rough draft by the end of the week.  I'll use OOo and upload the file to mediafire or one of those other services, since I think it would be too long for a post in the VL forums.

I could put it in a table or something like that if you want - that would make it easy to read.  Let me know if that's all right or if you want it formatted in some other way.

EFG:  Thanks for the link.  That's a good place to start.

Tom
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"I'm doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won't be big and professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones." - Linus Torvalds, April 1991
nightflier
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« Reply #18 on: December 01, 2008, 02:53:36 pm »

Thank You, Tom.

I plan to use html with links to project home pages for the guide, so it would be best to avoid any complicated formatting.
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tomh38
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« Reply #19 on: December 01, 2008, 03:15:32 pm »

nightflier:  Sounds good.  I'm on it.

Tom
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"I'm doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won't be big and professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones." - Linus Torvalds, April 1991
caitlyn
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« Reply #20 on: December 02, 2008, 08:20:31 pm »

I wrote an article almost two years ago that addresses your question and also a lot of the issues raised in the response.  It starts:  "Some years ago Linux creator Linus Torvalds famously compared changing operating systems to 'performing brain surgery on yourself'." 

See:  http://www.oreillynet.com/linux/blog/2007/02/performing_brain_surgery_on_yo.html

The comments are instructive as well.

I don't think you should worry about making VL Light too much like Windows.  Heck, the text-based ncurses installer will fluster the sort of Windows user you refer to and they won't understand the questions asked.  To me VL Light is about getting the most out of legacy hardware or limited hardware (i.e.: low end Netbooks).  I don't think the target audience is the Linux newbie.  They'll use Xandros or Linpus Light or whatever comes on the Netbook because installing an OS is beyond them.  They'll discard the legacy hardware or use an ancient or insecure version of Windows that's already installed.  The kind of user that doesn't know what "browser" means isn't up to installing an OS, any OS.  They will use whatever is pre-installed.   They will never try VL Light unless someone installs it for them and holds their hand.  Let that person make Internet and Word Processor icons Smiley
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eMachines EL-1300G desktop, 1.6GHz AMD Athlon 2650e CPU, 4GB RAM, nVidia GeForce 6150 SE video
CentOS 6.5 (will try VL64-7.1 soon)

Toshiba Satellite A135-S4727,  Intel Pentium T2080 / 1.73 GHz, 2GB RAM, Intel GMA 950

HP Mini 110 netbook, 1.6GHz Intel Atom CPU, 2GB RAM, Intel 950 video, VL 7.1
tomh38
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« Reply #21 on: December 03, 2008, 04:05:51 am »

caitlyn:

I realize what I'm about to address is a rather sensitive subject, and I'll try not to offend, but please give me some latitude.  Um ... is there anything we can do about women and Linux?  These days women use computers just as much as men do, possibly more, and yet the stereotype of the Linux user is the greasy guy who lives in his parents' basement and would turn to dust if sunlight shone on him.  I know that this stereotype is untrue, but I think the grain of truth in it is that there are more men who use Linux than women.

In your article you wrote about "the grandma test," and I've written about how my girlfriend uses Linux without difficulty.  I realize that anecdotal evidence isn't really evidence, but this is enough for me.  Except when it comes to a few specific things (upper body strength for men, giving birth for women, etc.) men and women are equal and can do the same things.  We've broken down a lot of the gender boundaries that hindered people in the past, so that now we have women in executive positions in corporations while at the same time men are making dinner (I'm one of those guys - I love to cook).

I know there are groups such as LinuxChix, but it still seems to me that women are underrepresented in the Linux community at large.

So, what can we do to get more women using Linux?  Should we even try?  Would it be better to let things happen and see how they turn out?  Any thoughts you have would be appreciated.

Tom

P.S.  I should have revealed my hidden agenda.  I have a dream in which women transform the Linux world and the outside perception of it in a way similar to what women did for science fiction.  Before Alice Sheldon (James Tiptree Jr.) Ursula K. LeGuin, Octavia Butler, et al., science fiction was often about (and perceived to be about) rocket ships, ray guns, ridiculous tentacled monsters, and so on.  When women started writing science fiction, everything changed.  Of course there were men who were writing science fiction as real literature before women became involved, but even those men were held to a higher standard after that.  Of course on television and in the movies the thing that's changed the most is the quality of the special effects, but I'm talking about written works here.

Anyway this is getting to be a rather long addendum, but I will end by saying that I would just like to see more balance.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2008, 04:44:06 am by tomh38 » Logged

"I'm doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won't be big and professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones." - Linus Torvalds, April 1991
caitlyn
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« Reply #22 on: December 03, 2008, 06:32:39 am »

Hi, Tom,

Women do use Linux more than you realize.  Most of us aren't vocal about it.  Why?  The honest reason:  the Linux is full of vocal men who are downright sexist and unwelcoming at best.  Don't believe it?  Look at the comments on Slashdot anytime gender comes up.  Look at the comments women like Carla Schroder get when they write about sexism in the community regardless of the forum.  Look at the latest brouhaha on the Debian lists. 

Heck, here is a mild example directed at *me* on DistroWatch Weekly this week.  (I wrote DWW this week.)

Quote
That was a very interesting, well wrote DWW - well done Caitlin (wah? a GIRL takes over as DWW ed!?! Wink!

Like I said it's mild but it is blatantly sexist.  GIRL?  Why is it surprising that a woman would write DWW?  Susan Linton filled in last year.

That sort of sexist attitude does translate into it being harder for women to be hired or to advance in some (but by no means all) IT departments.  It translates into lower pay.  Granted, IT is better than most industries.  Overall in the United States women tend to make about 70% of what men do for comparable positions.  In IT that figure is at 92%.  Better, but not equal.  That, of course, assumes a woman can get in the door and that the workplace isn't hostile to her.  Early adopters of Linux were knowledgeable users and often professionals.  Fewer women == fewer early adopters.

Still, there are women who have written major pieces of kernel code (Akkana Peck, for example).  I could write a very long list of major female contributors to major F/OSS projects and yet most people have the impression that women aren't doing it.  It isn't so.

My answer to you is that you don't have to do anything special to Linux to attract women.  Linux isn't the issue.  Attitudes in the community and in society at large are.
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eMachines EL-1300G desktop, 1.6GHz AMD Athlon 2650e CPU, 4GB RAM, nVidia GeForce 6150 SE video
CentOS 6.5 (will try VL64-7.1 soon)

Toshiba Satellite A135-S4727,  Intel Pentium T2080 / 1.73 GHz, 2GB RAM, Intel GMA 950

HP Mini 110 netbook, 1.6GHz Intel Atom CPU, 2GB RAM, Intel 950 video, VL 7.1
tomh38
Vectorian
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Posts: 913



« Reply #23 on: December 03, 2008, 07:41:38 am »

caitlyn:

I'm not surprised by your answer, though I'm not happy about the situation.  I work at a university in HR.  There are more women (in my opinion once you turn 18 you're a woman or a man, not a boy or a girl anymore) enrolled at the university than men, but the university is constantly fighting sexist attitudes.  You probably wouldn't be surprised at the number of young men who think women should stay home and cook and have babies, period.  If that's what a woman wants to do, I have no problem with that.  But it should be her choice, since it's her life.  My older sister is very successful in her field, probably the most successful of the four of us, and we're all happy for her.  I suppose my family is different from many.

I am happy to hear you say that there are more women who use Linux than I realize.  In my experience many things that are cordoned off as only for men or only for women could benefit by being more open.

By the way, I like the stories on Slashdot, but I usually hate the comments.  There's a lot of very backward thinking there.

I once went to a LUG meeting near where I live ... never again.  There were a lot bad things about it, but one of the worst things was the attitude towards women.  Some of the things men say when there are no women around ... it's disgusting.

You wrote:
Quote
Like I said it's mild but it is blatantly sexist.

I have to disagree with the word "mild" here.  Blatantly sexist, yes, but I wouldn't call it mild.  What's implied is not only that you are inferior because you're female but also that you are the equivalent of a child ("GIRL").  I imagine you were insulted.  I would have been, just as I am when people find it shocking or even shameful that I do most of the cooking in our household.  After all, that's woman's work, no self-respecting man even knows how to cook.

All right, I'm rambling.  I think we're on the same side here, though you have more knowledge of the situation with women and Linux than I do.  I'll take your advice
Quote
My answer to you is that you don't have to do anything special to Linux to attract women.
and basically keep doing what I have been doing.

Tom
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"I'm doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won't be big and professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones." - Linus Torvalds, April 1991
GrannyGeek
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« Reply #24 on: December 03, 2008, 09:27:09 pm »

I'd like to point out that it's not just women and Linux. Take a look at online user-to-user Windows tech support forums. Mostly they're dominated by men. Same for hardware forums. The idea that a woman could build  a computer or troubleshoot hardware seems to be a novelty. It's really strange--working with computer hardware does not require physical strength or much mechanical skill, and the generally smaller hands of women are an advantage when working in the often tight quarters of a computer case. Yet it's considered an aberration for a woman to be a hardware maven.

If you happen to be not only female but also on the far side of 60, you get it from both ends. The stereotype is that "old people" are hopeless technophobes for whom being able to turn on the computer is the pinnacle of achievement.

Unfortunately, stereotypes often rule people's thinking and expectations. It takes a certain gutsiness to swim against the current, and independent thinking (and acting) is not something that is modeled as much as it should be in our society. One thing we can all do to change this is to examine our own attitudes and behavior in the light of whether they reinforce stereotypes.
--GrannyGeek
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Triarius Fidelis
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« Reply #25 on: December 03, 2008, 11:24:52 pm »

Except when it comes to a few specific things (upper body strength for men, giving birth for women, etc.) men and women are equal

Boorish and violent or foolish and deceitful, take your pick
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stretchedthin
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« Reply #26 on: December 04, 2008, 12:10:03 am »

I know this response is sooo 8 messages ago but...

Nightflyer...

Here are a few tutorials I've made.  Have been experimenting between flash and mpeg.  I'm favoring Wink flash tutorials because of size right now.
Also, something about hearing my own voice over and over, just wierds me out.

These are using a combination of GTK-recordmydesktop and xvidcap
http://loonielistings.com/user_pic/VL59Gold/02.InitialSteps/GSlaptIntro.mpeg
http://loonielistings.com/user_pic/VL59Gold/02.InitialSteps/Mounting-VLHOT.mpeg
http://loonielistings.com/user_pic/VL59Gold/02.InitialSteps/Mounting-HAL.mpeg

These were made with Wink.
http://loonielistings.com/user_pic/VL6.0/OOinstallGSLAPT/OinstallGSLAPT.htm
http://loonielistings.com/user_pic/VL6.0/WpaperChange/WPaperChange.htm
http://loonielistings.com/user_pic/VL6.0/desktopfiles/desktop-files.htm

I'm open to comments and critisim so have at me. (errr, be gentle.)

So if there is anything I can do to help, let me know.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2008, 08:16:31 am by stretchedthin » Logged

Vectorlinux screencasts and  tutorials can be found at....
http://www.opensourcebistro.com/blog1
http://www.youtube.com/user/vid4ken?feature=mhee
tomh38
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« Reply #27 on: December 04, 2008, 05:08:40 am »

GrannyGeek, if I had need it proven to me that women and older people can be just as proficient with computers as men, you and caitlyn would have proved it to me.  As far as age is concerned, my own father was one of those COBOL cowboys back in the '70s, but he kept up with the times.  He wasn't a big fan of Windows though.  My mom bought him a new computer back in 1996.  They got it all hooked up and when he booted it and saw all the icons and stuff he just said, "Where's the command prompt?"  At one point maybe a year and a half before he died I gave him some Red Hat CDs, and we installed it together.  We never did get the modem to work, but back then it was no big loss.  My mom told me once that some times he would stay up late at night "messing with that damn computer."  He told me writing shell scripts to automate a lot of the stuff he did.  As far as women are concerned, it was my older sister who taught me how to use WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS (grad school).

So, the stereotypes are wrong.

Tom
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"I'm doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won't be big and professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones." - Linus Torvalds, April 1991
Lyn
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« Reply #28 on: December 04, 2008, 10:17:37 am »

I once spoke to a 95 year old man who did all his shopping via the internet, used the web to video conference with his family and ran his accounts on line.  He first used a computer at 90. 
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uelsk8s
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« Reply #29 on: December 04, 2008, 10:48:28 am »

I know this response is sooo 8 messages ago but...

Nightflyer...

Here are a few tutorials I've made.  Have been experimenting between flash and mpeg.  I'm favoring Wink flash tutorials because of size right now.
Also, something about hearing my own voice over and over, just wierds me out.

These are using a combination of GTK-recordmydesktop and xvidcap
http://loonielistings.com/user_pic/VL59Gold/02.InitialSteps/GSlaptIntro.mpeg
http://loonielistings.com/user_pic/VL59Gold/02.InitialSteps/Mounting-VLHOT.mpeg
http://loonielistings.com/user_pic/VL59Gold/02.InitialSteps/Mounting-HAL.mpeg

These were made with Wink.
http://loonielistings.com/user_pic/VL6.0/OOinstallGSLAPT/OinstallGSLAPT.htm
http://loonielistings.com/user_pic/VL6.0/WpaperChange/WPaperChange.htm
http://loonielistings.com/user_pic/VL6.0/desktopfiles/desktop-files.htm

I'm open to comments and critisim so have at me. (errr, be gentle.)

So if there is anything I can do to help, let me know.
These are great, any way you can do some for 6.0?
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